Wednesday, September 18, 2013

District Email on Growth Boundaries

Subject: Growth Boundaries: Please provide feedback

Dear Seattle Public Schools families:

At a School Board work session today, draft attendance area boundaries revisions (Growth Boundaries) for elementary and middle schools will be presented to School Board directors.

Student enrollment has increased from 46,000 in 2009-10 to about 51,000 this year, and we project nearly 60,000 students by 2020. We must add capacity and align boundaries to accommodate this growth.

Changes for some elementary and middle schools will start for the 2014-15 school year, and others will be phased in over time. High school boundaries will be considered at a future date.

There are many implementation and phasing details to be decided. For example, when the new student assignment plan was implemented in 2010, students were “grandfathered” at the school they attended the previous year.  (For example, a student in K in 2009-2010 at school X could remain at school X through the highest grade, regardless of attendance area.)  The school board needs to discuss this, but we anticipate that a similar provision will be made for these boundary changes.

The presentation to the Board, a document summarizing the changes, and other information will be available on the Growth Boundaries website. The Growth Boundaries website also has information describing the reason for these changes, a timeline and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

You are invited to review these drafts and to provide feedback. All input will be considered. Recommended changes will be introduced to the Board at the Oct. 16 board meeting, with action scheduled for Nov. 20. This will ensure families have the information they need prior to open enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year.

Ways you can provide input and suggestions include:
  • Attend a community meeting (schedule below).
  • Comments and questions can be emailed to GrowthBoundaries@seattleschools.org. All comments will be reviewed, provided to board members and summarized.
  • New questions will be added to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Growth Boundaries website.
  • Participate in the “Walk the Boundaries” project.  Information and instructions will be available on the website by Sept.18.
Community Meetings Schedule
When Where and Language Interpretation
Monday, Sept. 23
6:30-8 p.m.
Mercer Middle School, Lunchroom
1600 South Columbian Way
(Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese and Tagalog interpreters)
Tuesday, Sept. 24
6:30-8 p.m.
Nathan Hale High School, Commons
10750 - 30th Ave NE
(Spanish and Somali interpreters)
Wednesday, Sept. 25
6:30-8 p.m.
West Seattle High School, Commons
3000 California Ave SW
Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese interpreters)
Monday, Sept. 30
6:30-8 p.m.
Meany Building, Lunchroom
300 - 20th Ave E
(Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese interpreters)
Tuesday, Oct. 1
6:30-8 p.m.
Ballard High School, Commons
1418 NW 65th St
(Spanish interpreter)

Thank you,
Office of Public Affairs

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's time to split the district. 60,000 kids is way too many to be managed effectively by bloated admin. please split into 2-3 districts.

Mag mom

Anonymous said...

Mag mom,
Would you prefer am east-west split at I-5 or a north-south split at the ship canal? Who gets the tax revenue from the commercial core?

Lynn

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't care how it's split, I just think 60,000 is way too many students for any district.

Mag mom

Anonymous said...

60,000 students, though seeming large to Seattle residents, is not a particularly large school district. Seattle can handle it if competent leadership is established and stays in place.

Yes, I know that's a big "if". But there is always hope.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

I don't think the problem is too many students. There are 58 districts in the US with more than 60K students (k12research.com.)

Our administration could certainly do a better job at capacity management. To give them some credit,they are correcting quite a few errors made by a previous superintendent.

The problem is that our city is economically and racially split along clear geographic lines. Taking those differences into account in every decision does complicate things. I'm not saying they should or should not consider those issues - just that they do and it does make every choice more difficult.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

There has been research on the effective of district size on education. I haven't studied it thoroughly, but most of what I saw suggested that, beyond a certain point, bigger is worse. E.g., here is one such study:

http://www.spu.edu/orgs/research/WSRC%20HLM%20District%20Size%20Final%2010-2-02.pdf

"The authors (Bickel & Howley, 2000) found that in communities with high rates of
poverty, small schools in small districts increase student achievement. Overall,
“smaller districts and smaller schools demonstrate greater achievement equity”
(Howley, 2000, p. 7).
"

Smallish

Eric B said...

@Smallish, "greater achievement equity" is a long way from "greater achievement." If you break off high-performing areas from low-performing ones, they both have greater achievement equity with no change in actual achievement.

I haven't read the study, so please tell me if there are absolute changes in achievement as well. I agree that a larger district is harder to manage effectively, but don't know where that line should be drawn.

joanna said...

So property taxes would not be shared city wide? Each would have to be a separate taxing district. An area would only be supporting projects in that jurisdiction. Property taxes for each area would vary. Those with more social services where non profits pay no property tax would have less of a base and yet be supporting services that the city needs. Be careful if we are not in it all together. Or maybe we aren't anyway.

Anonymous said...

joanna,
That was my point. Splitting up the district might solve a lot of problems for the north end. Not so much for the Central, South East and South West regions.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

Where is the Indian Heritage School going after Wilson-Pacific gets torn down?

Wondering